I am absolutely amazed at the support shown in the last post. It proves, yet again, what a close and caring community we have here. I wish I could give you a hug, or shake your hand, but all I can do is say thank you.
Can you remember back to when you had babies to care for and how careful you were with their bedding? You'd make sure the sheets were clean and straight, you'd make the little bed several times a day and as soon as there was a wet sheet, into the washing machine it would go. You did those things, and more, because you knew how important that bed was to your baby. Well, I might be reverting to babyhood because I tend my bed as carefully as I would a cot or crib and I do it because sleep is important. Now let me declare my bias here up front. I LOVE my bed, always have, always will. I am a good sleeper. I'm rarely in bed more than ten minutes before I'm sound asleep. But I also do a lot of my thinking in bed in the cool dark hours of the morning and being in an uncomfortable bed would not be conducive to my sleeping or thinking. If I want to get the most out of every day, I need to sleep well.
Yesterday - our bed in the late afternoon sun.
I can almost hear the sighs from readers who just want to leave their bed untouched until they get into it again at night, but having a clean wrinkle-free place to sleep is one of the things that will make a difference to your day and how well you get through your work. You are mindful of your diet and exercise, you shower every day - or most days, you clean your teeth, make sure you store your food properly so it remains safe and healthy; your bed, my friends, is in that category. It matters. If you're just going to pull up the sheets during the day, why not give yourself another two minutes and make the bed.
You don't need expensive sheets, blankets or doonas/duvets. It doesn't matter if nothing matches, what matters is that your sheets are clean and fresh, are tucked in properly and that nothing in your bed makes you uncomfortable or causes you to wake up. Of course, the best bed is the one you sleep in the first night after your change the bedding. The smell of sunshine on those newly laundered sheets remind me every single time that a simple bed, well made every day, has a power beyond what you think is possible.
My sister Tricia made these red worked pouches. They are for holding a nightie or PJs during the day and sit on the bed like little pillows.
I change our bedding every week, wash the sheets in cold water using home made laundry liquid. Everything is hung in the sun to dry and brought in that evening. Nothing fancy, just very simple. That first night the sheets are pulled tight and tucked in and, depending on the season, covered with a doona/duvet and a quilt, or what we have now that we're moving to Autumn, cool cotton sheets, a blanket and a quilt. Soon we move further towards our winter bed - an electric blanket on Hanno's side, fluffy flannel sheets and a few thick and cosy layers to cover us.
Every morning after that first night, I strip the bed down to the bottom sheet, smooth out that sheet with my hands, then make the bed by tightening the bottom sheet, making sure the corners are anchored and the sheet won't slip during the night. The top sheet, pillows and blankets are removed and shaken, then replaced. The same applies to each top layer. During the day the windows are left open to allow fresh air to circulate. The windows are closed when it's very cold, late in the afternoon. Every so often I leave the pillows outside in the sun for the day, and hang the quilts and blankets on the line. It's also a good idea to use a mattress protector and to vacuum the bed every couple of months.
Never matching or fancy, but clean and simple. That's all you need.
Simple clean cotton sheets and a homemade quilt can nurture the soul as well as aching bones and a stressed mind. Allow your bed to do what it's there for - to keep you warm, safe and secure until you wake. When you think about it, sleep is a strange concept. We go about our every day activities and once a day, we get tired, lay down flat and lose consciousness. Weird! No one knows why we do that, but all animals, birds and reptiles do.
It is easy to believe it's too simple to be an important part of the day but those two or three minutes you spend smoothing, tucking and folding back, care for you during the eight hours you sleep. The time-expended-to-benefits-created ratio is in your favour. If you've never thought about this, or don't think it's worth while, make your bed every morning for a week and I think you'll quickly slip into the made bed camp. Beds are more important than we think. We're usually born in one and we will probably die in one. All that time in between that you spend in bed sets you up for your active life by allowing you to relax into sleep, to dream and to wake refreshed and ready for the busy day. Those three minutes are a sound investment.